There's nothing like that under Character Devices that I can find. Also, I searched the .config file generated by make menuconfig and neither "vesa" nor "logo" were found anywhere in the file. Finally, I was able to get into it successfully by passing "vga=normal" to the kernel, and I didn't see any suspicious messages in either dmesg or /var/log/messages. This is getting frustrating... why isn't the framebuffer working? If vesa and logo are kernel options, why don't they appear in the .config file? Thanks again.
I just went hunting around some more and I think I found out why this is happening. I had turned out off the "Prompt for development and/or incomplete code/drivers" option, so the frame buffer choice didn't appear (apparently it's considered experimental). I guess these have to be compiled directly into the kernel, so I'll do the whole recompile over again I suppose.
One last question for those still looking at this thread... I know the frame buffer gives you more lines and better-looking (in my opinion) consoles, so what are the disadvantages to this (specifically, why is it considered experimental)? I read somewhere that you need to not use the framebuffer and manually tweak XFree86 settings to get optimal performance, but to what extent is this true? If I want to be able to use the 3D acceleration of my video card, even if I use the ATI drivers for this, am I going to need to get rid of the framebuffer for this to work. I'm a little confused about how all this video stuff works.
Thanks again for helping me solve this, hopefully it'll work after the recompile.
Sorry for the excessively long post. I have one more question. Do I need to enable "ATI Radeon display support" under "Frame-buffer support" if that's the card I have? It sounds like the VESA driver will be all I need, but the helpfile on that option makes me think it might be necessary:
ATI Radeon display support (EXPERIMENTAL NEW):
Choose this option if you want to use an ATI Radeon graphics card as a framebuffer device. There are both PCI and AGP versions. You don't need to choose this to run the Radeon in plain VGA mode.